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Quick and Easy Garden Bed Creation-Make Lasagna!
I heard about this method of creating a new garden bed long after I had been digging beds out of thick sod. After the first year of trying it, I was not only hooked on it, I was amazed at how healthy everything I planted in it was. No digging or removing of anything was necessary. It was literally as it sounds, like a lasagna. You layer materials over each other, and then plant. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
The very first thing I did before I created my lasagna bed was I decided what I wanted to plant in it. This determined where in my yard I’d place it. I ended up making it over the old vegetable bed that I dug out years before. This area got lots of sun all day and the back of the garage sheltered it from the prevailing west winds that would scream though the neighborhood during summer storms. In a previous home of ours, I hadn’t put much thought into my vegetable bed placement and I had several storms damage that veggie bed. Not fun. If you don’t have the option of a building that offers some shelter, consider planting a row of sturdy shrubs or small trees as a wind break. Wind is not a problem in all areas but if it is it helps to take precautions.
The second thing I did was I procured the ingredients for my lasagna bed. I had already decided that I’d use materials that I had in abundance- compost and leaves. I also had lots of newspaper. This was all I needed to create my lasagna bed.
First, I laid down newspaper, about five or ten sheets thick, overlapping each other in the square area that I had already designated before as my veggie garden. You can do this right on top of grass or sod too. I know because I’ve not only read that you can, but since then I’ve done it. I wet down the paper with water from the hose. The nozzle was set on a gentle emit setting, as I didn’t want to blast everything away with jetting water. This gave weight to the paper making sure it wasn’t going to blow away.
After I had all of my newspaper down, I covered it with a thick layer of compost. I used my home made compost, nothing fancy, but store bought compost works just as well. For this first layer, lay down about two inches of compost.
For the second layer, I tossed on a generous amount of leaves, several inches worth. That was easy, and fun.
The third layer was another inch of compost.
I continued this layering until I had a bed that was about a foot high- as I was planning on using it for vegetables. You may not need a bed this high if you’re using it for annuals or a mixed annual and perennial bed. After I finished layering, I covered it with a tarp and waited for spring.
Composting itself is a process that I find very cool. Earthy materials being broken down by living organisms, only to later provide nutrients for other living organisms, plants. So the leaves that I layered would start the compost process almost immediately, and should be totally composted by spring.
When I finally uncovered my lasagna bed that following spring, it was an amazing sight to behold. It was a perfect, clean, dark, earthy smelling, gleaming, naked bed just begging to have seeds sown into it. And boy did I sow! The best part about everything was, my vegetables grew out perfectly that year, with no added fertilizers/chemicals. The mixture of the organic matter and active compost were all my veggies needed that year. Weeds were hardly an issue.
At the end of the season, after I removed most of the larger dead materials, I tossed on one layer of leaves and one layer of compost, covered it back up with the tarp, and waited for the next spring.
Home composting is a simple and rewarding process, and is described well in one of our previous posts, “Making Your Own Compost.”
If you would like to know more about our compost, and the composting process that we implement to make it, you should read this post, “Grillo Service’s Compost & Composting Info.” This article features videos of some of our machines doing their individual parts of the composting process.